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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE


January 14, 2013


Steve Donahue


STEVE DONAHUE: We had a two‑game road trip this week. I thought we played well for most of the two games and beat a very talented Virginia Tech team, and then I thought we played not nearly as well but I thought we played very hard and stayed in it, which I thought Wake played very well on Saturday. Unfortunately we lost, but I'm just very pleased with our progress.

Q. I see you've been going with a four‑guard starting lineup recently. Can you talk about that, and how much of that is a function of Dennis Clifford coming off injury and maybe trying to protect him a little bit?
STEVE DONAHUE: Yeah, I think there's a couple things here. One, Dennis is not healthy even with the injury. The ankle was the issue, now it's been the knee since September. He really hasn't practiced since late September, more than five, ten minutes at a pop. So even before he hurt his ankle, just fortunately he hasn't been himself. And I think that's hurt us. We really miss his presence.
We took a trip to Spain, Dennis was our leading scorer. He's our best player, and it's just unfortunate for him and us, he's nowhere near that due to the pain that he has in his knee. It's something that he's going to have to work through. I don't think it's going to get much better this year, and hopefully it's something that we can control better in the future.
The guard thing is something that we've always done. I've done it at Cornell. The guy who is our 4 man is typically a 6'6" type of guy who's a hybrid, tough enough to guard bigger guys, spread you out on offense, and then we usually come in and we go big at times, and we need to get physical, and that's kind of what we're trying to develop here with Patrick at the 4, Eddie Odio at the 4 at times.

Q. The other thing at that seems to be going on is Lonnie Jackson seems in the last week or two has really seemed to step up his game. Is that right, and if so, what's happened there?
STEVE DONAHUE: It has. I think ‑‑ Lonnie I thought has done a good job all year, just wasn't making shots. But he's our‑‑ in a lot of way, he's our most competitive kid, he really competes on both sides, and he plays with great confidence right now. So I think you're seeing someone who's getting shots and playing with confidence now and now has the ability to go out there, and he does a great job of knowing when to shoot the basketball, when not to, and then he's been much better this year in terms of making plays when people are flying at him. He's finding guys, he's taking care of the ball. His assist‑to‑turnover is good. Just really having a good, solid year for us.

Q. You have Miami coming up. They're playing very, very well. What do you have to do to counter?
STEVE DONAHUE: Well, I think the thing about Miami is, first of all, they have great size across the board, and they play so physical on the defensive end. There's a couple things. You're going to have to understand that the pace of the game at times is going to be slower and they're going to try to wear you down with their physicality. And then we've got to make sure that we're spreading the floor and we're doing the things that we do well, try to get it in transition. If you don't, then they've got to guard you.
I think they do such a good job of being in positions on defense, and with their size, that's a real asset. They don't get out of position very often, so teams end up taking really hard shots, especially in the lane. I think you've just got to be real intelligent about it.

Q. You say you're playing that 6'6" 4 that's matched up against Kenny Kadji, a 6'11" guy that can actually go inside‑outside. That's got to be as tough a No. 4 match‑up as you're going to have, isn't it?
STEVE DONAHUE: Yeah, no doubt, and I think you've got to do it as a team. We do some things different to try to mask that. We've done a good job, and as I said, on the other end, you've got to really take advantage of it. You've got to make sure that Patrick is being a guard and Kenny has got to guard him on the other side and how well do you have an advantage there when you do that. That's really the story of the game. We've got to be great with the basketball every game out, but this game in particular just because they're so stingy on defense and so big and efficient on offense. It's critical that we get the ball moving and get them chasing us.

Q. For the folks that don't get to see Ryan Anderson play that much, he's a tremendous player and in my opinion underrated. Can you give us a little bit about his game and what he brings to the table?
STEVE DONAHUE: Certainly. I think the thing that's really probably underrated about Ryan, because he's not someone that jumps out at you with his size or his athleticism at the forward spot, what he does is he really knows how to get open. He knows where to play in terms of ball screens and dribble hand‑offs that we do. He just has a great knack of finishing around the rim against bigger guys. He's using both hands. So there's a lot of understated things that I think you've got to watch and appreciate.
The other thing he does really well, he just has a great understanding of how to rebound. He's got long arms. He's a first jumper, not necessarily a high jumper, but he's got incredible ability to go get balls in traffic that would surprise you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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